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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3DS stylus not good?

This is a bit of a weird complaint, but... is it just me or is the new stylus for the Nintendo 3DS not as good as the ones for the Nintendo DS Lite?

I was a bit hesitant about the new 3DS stylus from what I'd read/seen of it. It's telescoping & I wondered if it would feel solid enough. I'm happy to report that even though it does telescope out, it doesn't feel hollow or particularly weak-- it actually feels pretty good to hold.

Of course the most obvious problem is the placement of the stylus holder in the 3DS body. It's so awkward... I can't tell you how many times I either reached for it or tried to return the stylus to a non-existent holder hole on the right side of the console. Normally I don't even think about it... until now.

But here's an even bigger problem I've noticed.... it feels like the new stylus isn't as responsive or accurate as the older stylus. I'm not sure why-- whether it's the touchscreen itself or the shape of the tip:

It seems that the tip of the 3DS stylus is wider, rather than a small more rounded tip on the DS Lite stylus. With crappy resistive touchscreens like the DS ones, it probably makes a difference.

I was playing Brain Age 2, and you need to do a lot of number writing... right away I noticed with the 3DS stylus the numbers I was writing weren't registering properly. And for Brain Age 2, I write big-- I try to make each number at least 1.5 inches tall. Dragging the 3DS stylus across the screen felt... ugh. Felt bad. Not sure if it's because it's new or if the screen is new or what. But I switched back to the DS Lite stylus and that feels better.

But just playing touchscreen dominating games in general on the 3DS, the touchscreen doesn't feel quite as precise. I've been playing Plants vs. Zombies which is all touchscreen and have a bit of inaccuracy on that game as well.

All the 3DS reviews never really spend much time with the stylus, and don't mentionhow it feels using it on the screen a lot. With simple pokes at a button or whatever type of stylus action-- it's fine. But if you need to write/draw or drag stuff around the screen with it, jeez.... I dunno.

Is it just me experiencing this?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

comparing 3DS & DS Lite playing the same game

Thought I'd do a direct comparison between the 3DS & DS Lite playing the same game..... amazing that no online news site actually did this.... way to not do your jobs Joystiq, Engadget, IGN, Gamespot, etc....

I wanted to test out game sharing, or DS Download Play as Nintendo calls it. Can a DS Lite do local multi-player with a 3DS? The answer is Yes! Here is Mario Kart DS loaded on both systems with one one cartridge, in the DS Lite (hosting).

I took 2 side-by-side pictures switching the positions of the consoles each time, because as can be seen, the external light & whatever other factors affected the device on the left side.

But in both pics you can see that the colour on the 3DS screens is more faded, and colours are different in some places.

The DS Lite:

The 3DS:

The colours & look of the DS games aren't as vibrant on a 3DS, but I wouldn't really notice unless I was looking side-by-side like this. It may bug some people, personally if I had to sell/get rid of my DS Lite & only had a 3DS to play my DS games, I'd be ok with it. Though I still want to keep my DS Lite....

Another point to note is that I did a visual comparison of the screen sizes between the 2 handhelds & to me, it looks like the screen sizes on the 3DS is slightly smaller when playing DS games.

Finally, there is also the point of WRONG INFO being posted by major gaming "news" sites. Joystiq, IGN, maybe others keep saying that to display DS content at its actual resolution on a 3DS (where the image is displayed about 3/4 the size of the screen) you need to press both SELECT & START while tapping on the DS game icon. NO. You hold down *either* SELECT *or* START, not both. It's in the friggin' manual!

Here's a hilariously erroneous video by IGN where Audrey gets just about everything wrong. Aside from the button thing, she mentions that it'll make the cartridge [icon] spin-- again, WRONG. The cartridge icon spins because her thumb brushed against the 3DS microphone. Blowing on it gives the same effect. And for strike three, for some reason they edited the footage to not actually show the correct resolution they're talking about, they cut back to the same stretched footage they showed earlier. It's just a mess of a "tutorial":

The smaller, correct resolution makes everything look a bit sharper & more vibrant, which is why I think people are grousing about the upscaling after seeing the actual resolution playback. But the same image shown smaller almost always makes it look more vibrant, right? Trust me, it is not worth playing with the screens this size.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The 3DS reception

Yeah.... what a day! I've been ticking them off since the announcement of the Nintendo 3DS, what was it, 9 months ago? More? Wow.

So I woke up this morning really early, like 5:30am.... I *wanted* to sleep in more, but I just couldn't. Today was like Xmas, only with 3DS-- which would make Xmas (or anything) SOOOOOOO much better.......

Although, I have been wondering if perhaps my abundant use of handheld devices before sleeping is causing (or at least contributing to) my sleep disorders. I usually watch video or play some games on one of my various handhelds an hour before going to bed. Ever since hearing about that study that links the 2 has me thinking. I dunno.

Anyway, I waited for Future Shop to open at 10:00am to pick up my shiny aqua blue Nintendo 3DS. I had no idea what kind of reception would greet me.... I hoped there wouldn't be a mob, but this is the first console I've ever bought at launch.

So I get there, and... the store is practically devoid of customers. More disturbingly, it's almost bare of any 3DS info at all aside from a few cardboard displays that don't tell you any real info.

*Sigh*... I could go into a long story about the incredible lack of training Future Shop employees seem to (not) have. Suffice to say, after over 30 minutes, I was able to pick up my PRE-ORDERED, reserved-for-me-literally-with-my-name-on-it 3DS. And do you know how many people were in front of me that it took so long? 100? 200?

Try 6. Yeah, like six guys waiting before me, sorta being served simultaneously, and after being bounced through 3 FS employees they were finally able to ring up my 3DS & have me on my way. Lord, how lame *IS* this company????

So there was no mob. At least not here in my small town. This was definitely not the iPad 2. I can't imagine what the FS here would've done if there WAS a mob for the 3DS here.... if they can barely handle 6 people.....

I went to an EB Games and another Future Shop later in the afternoon & there seemed to be ample supplies of 3DS's sitting in the glass cases. So I wonder if perhaps this launch isn't going to be as good for big N as past ones. I think maybe their lack of mainstream promotion hurt them-- I only started seeing vague 3DS ads on TV starting about last week? But much more of a factor is also the cost of the system & lack of killer app software launch titles. I suspect they overestimated how much the general public is willing to pay for a gadget like this.

I bought Pilot Wings Resort, and I've decided to buy Steel Diver & Ridge Racer 3D, but I will wait until April 15 & use that coupon I snagged to help ease the financial pain a bit.

It's a really beautiful system, I love the blue colour, and the body is sorta sparkly like some PSPs (like the gray PSP-2000 that was packed with Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters) a mother-of-pearl pattern if you will.

It's surprisingly heavier than the DS Lite, but feels pretty good in the hands. Very glossy, the inside panels are very glossy & shiny and the bottom outside panel is shiny but not as slippery feeling-- not quite matte, but grippy.

Playing DS games on the 3DS - This has been a big concern of mine since hearing the reports about fuzziness because of upscaling. So far I've only played Plants vs Zombies on my 3DS, and I have to say... it looks almost exactly the same as on my DS Lite to me. I did scrutinize the details of the characters.... let me say that the DS version of Plants vs Zombies is sprite-based so the characters are a bit pixelated... let's be honest: while some games can look great for what they are, the DS has never had the the best graphics. The 3DS may smooth out some of the pixelization, if anything this makes the game look a bit better. But like I've said, I really like how upscaled GBA games look on my phone, so maybe I'm not the one to ask about this. But from what I can see initially, I'd be very happy to play DS games on my 3DS. I still have to try more games to give a final verdict though.

Anyway... I don't have any pics & I'm still playing around with the system so I'm not ready to get into the nitty-gritty of things yet.

The 3-D is nice, but it's not earth-shattering. How I predicted it would be is more or less how it is. To recap:
Here's how I think the 3-D will look like with the 3DS: imagine the screen being a box, about 1 inch deep. Now imagine the objects in the box-- let's say Mario in a Super Mario Bros. game-- look like paper cutouts, placed at different depths within that 1 inch box. Nothing comes OUT of the screen, just like actors don't leap out of the stage onto your lap while performing a play.

The 3-D effect does come out of the screen a little bit sometimes, but it's bad when the object borders the screen edge because the illusion cuts off, undermining the 3-D when it does this.

It's not that different from 3-D theatrical movies, aside from the lack of glasses (which is a small but significant point) One thing that about 3-D theatrical movies is that I find they're a bit dark; I wish they were more well-lit sometimes. And the 3DS screen feels this way also. I have the brightness up all the way, but when it comes to screen brightness, this is no DS Lite.

I will say this about the 3-D though-- in Pilot Wings Resort it *is* helpful, at least to me, because the added depth contributes to the gameplay. Is it absolutely necessary? I could play it without the 3-D. But to those who keep saying that 3-D isn't necessary.... you know what? Stereo audio isn't "necessary" either. Mono sound is as functional as stereo. It does the job, you hear the sounds. But stereo improves the listening experience, sometimes minimally sometimes vastly. I'd say the same about 3-D on the 3DS.

The big complaint is the battery. I've just put it in its cradle for it's second charging session today. I charged it early afternoon and by about 7:30 pm the red charge-me light was on. This is very PSP-like-- in a BAD way. But I discovered something about the wireless switch, it's a slider similar to the PSP, but it's NOT up=on/down=off. No, it's spring-loaded, so you flip it up, it goes back down. So the same flip either turns it on or off. I spent most of the day not realizing it was on. There are a multitude of various indicator lights on this thing, and so I'd probably have turned off the wireless earlier and I wonder how much that affects battery life. With the PSP & PSPgo, it's a significant drain, I'd say the wireless on those systems takes up 1/3 of the battery time if on constantly. I especially notice it with the PSPgo using bluetooth a lot. If you're not out in public hoping for a StreetPass encounter, or you have a specific need to be wirelessly connected (updating or whatever) then there's not much point in leaving it on.

So yeah, just my initial thoughts on day 1 of Nintendo 3DS ownership. It's a sweet system.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Buy Canada 3DS games sale

Only 2 more sleeps until the 3DS comes out!

*sigh*... compared to the bonanza of deals sprouting across the U.S., Canada has gotten practically nothing in 3DS deals whether it be games or the console.

Future Shop has a case & extra stylus with pre-order, best Buy offers a mario T-shirt for the first 25 customers per store.... wow that's lame.

The latest Best Buy flyer has "buy 2 and save $10.00" on 3DS games....

other than that I haven't seen any other major deals.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Video Games Live Future Shop coupon

I was in Future Shop today picking up a USB charger and I noticed a Video Games Live one-sheet leaflet thing at the register. There's an upcoming show in my town.... I am going (yay!) and so I grabbed the leaflet on the off-chance it might have more details about the event.

What surprised me is on the back, it says SAVE $20 with the purchase of 2 games over $20 each. Wow, that's not bad! I've been talking about how my 2 3DS launch games purchases are going to be Pilot Wings & Ridge Racer 3D, each $40.00-- so hopefully they qualify. I'm really envious from seeing so many deals for 3DS games in the U.S. There hasn't been many real deals for Canada other than a free case. So $20.00 off of $80.00 would be better than nothing.

The problem is that the coupon isn't in effect until April 15, the day VGL plays in my town. So if I plan to use it for 3DS games, I have to WAIT 2 WEEKS before buying them. I'm getting the 3DS system on Sunday, but looks like I won't be getting any games for it for over 2 weeks........ hmmm.

Guess I'll just be playing AR games, fiddling with the Mii Maker, taking 3-D pics of my action figures, pressing the browser icon & getting a COMING SOON message.... and playing my old DS games, hopefully they won't look too fuzzy....

Check out Future Shop's Video Games Live page here:


Even if you're not going to the show, if it's playing in your town your local FS might have the $20.00 coupon. Worth looking out for.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

pica-pic.com - vintage virtual handhelds

Now this is a neat site that Engadget posted about... this site has old handhelds in flash format, playable in a web browser! I've never heard of most of these, but I did have the Mickey & Donald Nintendo game along with the Donkey Kong II game I previously posted about.... wow, what a memory burn.

It's cool that I can play these little handhelds on my netbook... I guess that's about as much gaming as I'm likely to get on this thing...

Check out the site here:



Android 3DS AR card app

This is kinda cool. Engadget posted a link about someone making an app for Android smartphones that displays the AR cards for the 3DS.

For those unaware, you lay these cards down on a table & use the 3DS camera to have interactive games with them.... well, at least with the question mark one. I think the other ones only pop up 3D images of the character on the card.

With this app, you can display the card on your phone & interact with it exactly the same-- saves you having to keep track of a bunch of flimsy cards.... as long as you have your phone and your 3DS with you, that is...

I just downloaded + installed the app on my HTC Legend & it works alright-- it is a simple app that shouldn't need to do much. I think it's about 800K in size... and yeah I'm sure that you could take a photo of the cards & do the same thing as this app-- but in the app they're displayed pretty well, they don't look like photos or off center, etc. Also, my phone automatically turns off the screen after a minute or so, and I don't want to adjust that setting every time I want to display AR card photos. This app keeps the screen on.

The only caveats I've heard so far is that it may force close on the EVO, and there might be ads. I don't stay connected to the internet on my phone so I haven't encountered that so far.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

from 2007: my DS Lite

In anticipation of the 3DS coming out this Sunday, I thought I'd repost some entries from my other blog....

:::NOTE: originally posted in my other blog 8-18-2007 & 8-21-2007:::

DS lite

Ok I'll finally say it.

I'm getting one.

Oh come on... did you really NOT see this coming? Like seriously?

And the DS stands for Dark Side... hehe, just kidding.

There wasn't exactly one killer app per se, but a package deal:

Red & black. That looks NICE.

Damn that colour scheme is sexy. That really does look sweet.

*MmHmmm*.... fold it open honey, show me what you got..... Oh YEAH baby, you KNOW that's what I WANT.... come on sweetcheeks... I want to see that RED interi--


That is seriously disappointing. Not that the black (or is that "Onyx") looks terrible, but for the last month+ I've only had that pic of the DS lite closed to go by & I assumed that the red half was ALL red, you know what I mean?

It just seems like if they made the top half all red, it would look so stylish even when it's open. I am bummed. But I'm still going to buy it if I can get one.

And then there's the case:

It looked not bad.... until.....

It opens up to reveal that there are NO SIDES to it?!? Errr.... WHAT????? As far as cases go, that seems rather useless. I kinda like the slots for the DS games tho. But still, I would put a DS lite in my pocket vertically, so a case with sides is pretty important to me.


That package isn't the only reason I'm getting it. I do want Brain Age 2; my brain is definately turning to mush. I've been playing a lot of Carol Vorderman's Sudoku lately (What was that? No, me neither, but it's Sudoku) on my PSP, I'd been looking for a good Sudoku game on PSP, it suffices. But yeah, I need some games that don't turn my mind to porridge, hopefully BA2 will slow the decay.

So that package, and BA2 are not the only reasons. I've already bought 2 DS games. Yes, I've devolved to the point where I'm now buying games for systems I don't even own yet. I also have a GameCube game (Rogue Squadron II)... not only do I *not* own a Wii to play it on, I don't have the needed GameCube controller + GC memory card to plug into the Wii (which I don't have) to play the game.

I did buy Justice League: The Flash before I had my Game Boy Micro, but I had already ordered the GBM, I just didn't know when I was getting it exactly. These systems I haven't even got on order. Just some vague hope that I will get them. Someday.


DS lite

So I bought that DS Brain Age 2 bundle I was talking about. Popped into Future Shop this morning, there was one really fat large guy in front of me buying it... they had a display stand set up but hadn't yet stocked it. The DS's were still in the shipping box.

Man... the actual DS package box was a total nightmare though! Of all the things i'm worried about with the DS; dead pixels, hinge cracks, the LAST thing I'd ever have expected was that the BOX would be a COMPLETE sonnuva-bitch to deal with.

It looks great in the pictures:

From those pictures, it looks like it'd be easy enough to open. Not so. Every flap was glued, and not the hard glue that you give a bit of a tug & it cracks, this was wet glue that was SUPER sticky.... not just in dabs, but COMPLETELY coated on the flaps. I used a butter knife to try to pry one of the flaps up--- *THEN* I used a hair dryer to try to soften the glue.... even after ALL THAT, I realized that I was not going to get more than 1 flap open that way. So I pulled another flap as far from the box as possible, & took an X-Acto knife to it.... trying very hard not to nick the delicate contents inside. I nicked the inside flap, which came really close to the box with the DS in it. Why did Nintendo have to make such a retarded packaging? Especially considering how comparitively easy the DS box & the Game Boy Micro box are to open than this monster.

Once that was over with, I charged it up & have had some on/off time with it... I gotta say, the DS is a pretty neat system. I was surprised that the body has a matte finish that feels rough in texture. And the system feels more toy-like than the PSP, yet it's still elegant. It's so light; I almost couldn't believe how much lighter it feels than the PSP. I'm still getting used to the stylus, I don't want to press hard on the screen. Not sure if I'm going to get some screen protectors, like Invisible Shield or Bestskinsever.

I am very nervous about the hinge crack issue... I've heard that black DS's don't suffer as many cracked hinges as white ones... but this is anecdotal testimony from gamers, so I don't expect much intelligent analysis has been done. It's like if anyone ever tells you that PSPs don't have many cases of dead pixels any more, they're an idiot.

And I'm concerned about dead pixels on the DS. My screens look great so far. We'll have to see in a week, hopefully it'll continue. My Game Boy Micros don't have any dead pixels at all.

When I open my DS up, it makes a loud snap when it's opened right up. That kind of scares me. I hope that's natural, maybe to lock it into position or something?

One of the games I bought before I got the DS is Star Trek: Tactical Assault. I know, back when I got it for PSP I ragged on it pretty hard, but one of my main complaints was that even though the game is exclusive to BOTH the PSP & DS, they obviously favoured the DS version for some inane reason. So I figured the DS one would be fun, especially since they have the touchscreen to add controls. It is interesting to compare the same game on both handhelds, the DS one definately takes a hit in graphics & presentation. Graphics aren't everything in gaming, but still, man. The DS screen is nice & bright, it still looks great in situations where the PSP would be completely washed out, like in daylight.... but PSP graphics are definately a step up in quality.

Yesterday I was in Wal-Mart still looking for a Wii... and some tall guy with his mom comes in, he gets her to ask about the Brain Age 2 DS... the guy working the electronics doesn't normally work that section regularly (he tells them that) and he knows NOTHING about electronics. They don't have them in, and he says they sold out. So the guy buys an Onyx DS.... I *could've* told him that Future Shop was getting them in the next day... but after all this Wii craziness crap, I'm just not going to give anyone a leg up-- over me. I hope that karma doesn't come back to bite me... I feel a bit sorry for the sucker buying a regular DS the day before the one he wants went on sale, but hey, it's not like I told him to buy a DS right then & there. He could've waited & done some research if he wanted the BA2 DS that bad.

Now to go seek some more approval from a disembodied, floating nerd head.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Sims 2 GBA

Man.... way back when I started this blog I fully intended to talk about GBA games & my Game Boy Micro. I don't play it all the time but I've had some intense few weeks of gaming on it here & there. But I bet that if I clicked on the Game Boy Micro link tag under the site header I'd find very few posts about my little Micro. I think I played it more just before I started Handheld Addict & for some reason not much since.

So right now I am playing the hell out of The Sims 2 on it. It was actually part of the bundle when I bought my Game Boy Micro from Future Shop in 2007(?) They packed in 2 GBA carts: Sims 2 and a Pokemon movie cart which I think is actually 2 episodes from the tv show. I still haven't watched that yet. And back then I tried out Sims 2 a bit, just to make sure it worked but then put it away until I was in the mood.

So fast forward a few years to a couple days ago, and I'm rooting through my box of GBA game carts looking for something to try. "Hmmm, Sims 2? I have no idea what this game is like... oh what the hell-- let's give it a shot!", I said.

And I've been playing it like crazy ever since.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I have also been playing tons of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town on my phone. I have the GBA cart of that game too but I loaned it to my nephew & he's been completely addicted to it for months. I'm probably not getting it back, so I acquired a ROM of it for my phone. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is a slow-paced game but it is surprisingly addictive... I'm really getting into the sim-genre right now.
The Sims 2 is a nice fit in that genre, and I'm really surprised now good the graphics are. It's a huge ROM; most are like 3MB, but this one is like 24MB!

I forgot how nice the d-pad on the Game Boy Micro is. I tried playing it on my DS Lite, and the mushy d-pad really turned me off, so I went back to my Micro. But I am just not a fan of the tiny TINY Micro screen. Even though it makes GBA games look good.... it's still damn small.

So I have it on my phone and have been playing it on both devices, basically just playing the same levels on each.

It's a weird game... basically you're an actor on a sort-of reality show? But the others don't know they're on a show? I'm not sure. But you directly control your sim & complete levels which are episodes on this show.

To me it's fun in the some of the same ways that Harvest Moon is, that you can wander around I explore/discover things. The graphics are better but the exploration is much smaller than Harvest Moon.

I'm using this game to help me wait out the final week before the 3DS release on Sunday....


sandi mobile phone stand review

One of the things I love to do with my HTC Legend android smartphone is watch video.... same with my PSPgo. And one of the big frustrations with doing so on either of those devices is trying to prop it up when I want to go hands-free.

So I was scouring the web back in late December 2010 & came across these mobile phone stands at DealExtreme. They come in packs of 2, I ordered 2 packs (4 total) and keep them around the house & in pocket so I always have one at arms length when I need it.

They're a very simple design, made of thin metal but very light & easily strong enough to hold a small gadget like a phone. I was using my homemade paperclip stands, but the good thing about these sandi stands is they're easy to pocket, which I can't do with the bent-up paperclip ones. When I'm at Tim Horton's or wherever, I can whip it out as I need it & pack it away quick & easy.

Each stand comes with 2 rubber pads with adhesive bottoms, but they don't explain where exactly they're supposed to be placed. I'm not sure if it's visible from my pics but I tried to put them where the device would meet the metal so it doesn't touch it & scratch them. But I needed 3 pads and they only come with 2, so I cut the big one into 2 pieces (very easy to do so) and that worked great. For the 2 that I already stuck the pads to before realizing I could've cut them, I used electricians tape as a very light third pad.

The stand is just a shaped strip of metal, I think anodized aluminum, not sure about that. And there's a cute devilish face with one fang pattern cutout in the metal. Reminds me of a Jack-O-Lantern.

These stands work awesome with my HTC Legend, the angle is great for me. They're best for looking down on a table rather than propping a device level with the eye; basically they angle the viewing angle upward.

The PSPgo is a bit of a different story. It will only fit it when the PSPgo is open. If it's closed it will not fit on the stand.

These stands are great if the device is small. Though oddly enough, my 8.5"x 6" Aluratek Cinepal media player fits on the stand-- precariously. Seems strange that a big PMP player like that fits but my PSPgo (when closed) is too thick? Very weird. But yeah, these stands are really only good for SMALL devices like a phone, iPod touch, etc. Regular-sized PSPs, PSP-2000/3000 and sure as hell not PSP-1000 series... will NOT fit on these stands.

I ordered these from DealExtreme, but I wouldn't advise ordering from them anymore. They took a LONG time to ship these to me. I think 2 months..... I saw the same ones at Focalprice for less and I've had a good past experience with them so if I had to order more I'd probably get them from there.

So why do they have "sandi" written on them anyway? I have no idea. I thought if I found the lettering too distracting I'd just rub it off, but I actually don't mind.


Monday, March 14, 2011

3DS pre-order madness

So I am completely nuts, right? I think I established that when I bought 4 freakin' PSPs (recap: 1 PSP-1001, 2 SW white PSP-2001s, 1 PSPgo)

Not crazy enough? How about 2 Game Boy Micros-- 1 with a black faceplate, 1 with a gray faceplate. And YES, I *know* that the GBA Micro faceplates are replaceable..... I dunno. Just crazy, I am.

So in late January 2011, I get all whipped up into a frenzy for the 3DS. I preorder the Cosmo Black one online from Future Shop.

But then... I really wanted the Aqua Blue one. So I preorder that one from Best Buy's website. I wait a couple weeks before deciding that I really want the blue, so I cancel the black preorder from Future Shop's website.

But then... Future Shop offers a free case & extra styluses (stylii?) with preorder. Best Buy gives me nuthin' extra with my preorder. Hmmm.

So today... I went into Future Shop & checked to see if they had an in-store preorder. Turns out they do; you buy a little cardboard 3DS voucher thing that looks just like a PSN card or game card, and put down either a $25.00 minimum deposit or all the way up to full purchase price. I only put down the $25.00, because I want to be sure I get a receipt dated the release day for warranty purposes. I asked the guy about the free case & stuff, and he assured me that they'd include it, and I made sure that if I pre-ordered a 3DS in the store, that I would get it.... he said I would, that one would be set aside for me until I picked it up.

Buying it in-store seems better because then I'll get it the first day (it comes out on a Sunday, March 27,2011) I'm betting that online orders are shipped March 28.... meaning it could be a week before I'd get it in the mail.....

So yeah-- I pre-ordered from Futureshop.ca, pre-ordered from Bestbuy.ca, cancelled my pre-order from Futureshop.ca, cancelled my pre-order from Bestbuy.ca, and pre-ordered in store at my local Future Shop. Got all that?

At least I'm only buying one......

... but I'm *still* really liking the black one too.....

... like I said, crazy.

Oh yeah-- and I bought Plants vs. Zombies DS (cartridge format).


3DS & DS Lite size

As with every console be it handheld or home console, there's always tons of MISinformation floating around about it before it's released. It's laughable all the misinformation & wrong facts that can be found about the PSP back in 2005. Even sites like IGN proliferated wrong info... these sites should know better.

So one of the wrong "facts" about the 3DS people are assuming is that because the screens have higher resolution than the previous DS iterations, that the 3DS screens are actually physically larger than them also (aside from the DSiXL series of course)

But a Wikipedia check of the stats points out:

screen size:

3DS - (top screen) - 3.53 in (90 mm) effectively 400 × 240
(bottom screen) - 3.02 in (77 mm), 320 × 240

DS Lite - 3.0 in (76 mm), 256 × 192 px

I bold the pertinent point-- the bottom 3DS screen is only 1mm larger than the DS Lite screens. Yes, the top screen is wider obviously, but it doesn't look taller, it may in fact be smaller from top to bottom because of the 16 x 9 proportion... which this side-by-side pic I found bears out:

So the 3DS will offer a fuzzier image of DS games on its screens.. but the actual screen image will be the same size. A lot of people seem to be ok with fuzzy images because they think they're getting a bigger screen out of the deal when they aren't. It's like accepting that a standard-def image shown on a big screen TV will be fuzzier. Except what if you're getting a SAME size screen TV that shows a fuzzier image than one you're used to seeing?

At this point I have no idea how DS games look on the 3DS, but I'm preparing myself to accept they may not look as good as on my DS lite. But it's not like my DS Lite immediately stops working the minute I bring a 3DS home-- it better not-- 'cause I *love* my DS Lite......

I'm starting to think that even though the 3DS looks like a DS with more added into it..... it's NOT a DS. It's a DS EMULATOR when it's playing DS games. If you keep that in mind, it may keep expectations in check.

The misinformation about the 3DS size has been an advantage for me in one way though: I've been seeing a few DS Lite cases for dirt cheap... cases that will probably fit the 3DS just fine. I bought this (very faux) leather slip case for $0.96.... good thing people don't know any better otherwise they might get the same idea as me....


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DS games on 3DS

As we get closer to the 3DS release, my enthusiasm for it is waning a bit.

The launch games lineup is not that strong. Currently I have 2 day-one game purchases in mind: Ridge Racer 3D and Pilot Wings Resort. I love the first Ridge Racer on the PSP. And Pilot Wings Resort looks very "Wii-ish" in a good way... that and I'm *itching* for a good flying game.... but I have to admit that neither game looks groundbreaking; Ridge Racer is one of the most conservative franchises out there-- it barely changes anything from game to game... I didn't even buy Ridge Racer 2 because it looked like the exact same game as the first one. I've never played a Pilot Wings game but from what little I've seen of Pilot Wings Resort-- which is VERY LITTLE-- it also looks a bit light in content. Plus I'm not sure either of these games are for sure available at launch.

Then the browser & online 3DS game shop aren't coming until May I think?

So I'm thinking that I'll be playing a lot of DS games on the 3DS for the first few months. But a couple of disturbing details are creeping out about that too.

Gamespot reports that DS games take a bit longer to load on the 3DS.
According to their charts, it's about 5-7 seconds longer, which doesn't seem like much but I'm wondering if there are going to be other inconsistencies with DS software.

A more disturbing observation was made by Joystiq that DS games on the 3DS are upscaled and fuzzy. So they don't look as good as they would played on a DS Lite.

I don't really see it on the video myself. But I credit it to the poor quality of the video, the guy didn't even turn off the 3D-- the slider is still on full. Sheesh. But seen in real life it may be more noticeable.

This is somewhat understandable given the higher resolution of the 3DS screens.

I play Gameboy Advance games on my HTC Legend smartphone, and the games are upscaled to fit the screen for it.... and I have to say, they look GREAT. Some look better than others, but in general I'm quite happy with how they look on my phone. How they PLAY, using onscreen controls, is another matter...

So if DS games look as good as GBA games look on my phone, I'd be ok with it. But my HTC Legend has an AMOLED screen which looks really good. I even prefer the screen quality of it over my PSPgo for watching videos, it's just brighter & crisper... I don't know.

Another thing I'm excited about is that we can use the 3DS analog nub to play DS games! I am looking forward to playing my fave DS game MechAssault: Phantom War using the analog nub! But I'm trying not to get my hopes up, I know that it won't offer levels of sensitivity normally characteristic of an analog nub, it will simply operate the same as the D-pad.


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